north-florida

Some thoughts on moving to North Florida.

One of the first things I’ve noticed is the foliage. This is definitely temperate as opposed to subtropical/ tropical I’ve lived in.

Many of the trees here are much older than most I’ve lived near.

There are hills.

The ocean is a bit further away but the lakes are intriguing.

Bats! I LOVED the bats, looking forward to spending more time watching them.

Overall can’t wait to see more, I need to get a canoe and start canoeing around the lakes. 

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Hi, this is my best friend, Sammi.

Sammi is a green cheek conure that went missing around 6-7pm on the 17th of July, 2014. He got startled and flew into some woods behind my house in Flora Park.

If anyone in the Yulee, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, or Jacksonville, Florida area spots him, please notify me immediately.

He is an average sized conure. He is mostly green with white and black around his neck and some of his chest. There is a small patch of rust-red feathers on the lower part of his belly. His tail feathers are red. The inside of his wing feathers are blue. His feet are a mixture of gray and pink.

He knows how to say his name (albeit poorly) as well as “Step up!” and “Whatcha doin?” but tends to be shy about speaking around strangers. So if you hear him, it will probably just be screeches or squawks.

He loves sliced apples and may fly to you if you have them. He dislikes men and will fly over and attack them.

Email at: yayfreemail2@hotmail.com
Or contact me here.

Please, please, please signal boost. I know the likelihood of tumblr finding him is slim, but I will do anything to know he is safe.

A trip down memory lane to North Florida’s Turpentine Days

By Clifford Davis

In Florida’s not-so-distant past, before strip malls and subdivisions, an industry thrived here in which rough men did even rougher work in the state’s seemingly limitless and hazardous pine forests: Turpentine.

Until the late 20th century, men still toiled in the steamy Florida summers when the “gum” and rattlesnakes run best. The citrus-like aroma of the sap wafted through the woods on sultry winds mixing with the smell of sweat and beasts of burden.

Originally done mostly by small landowners, what would become the state’s second-largest industry developed as corporations bought and leased vast tracts of pine forest and set up turpentine camps that eventually pervaded the state.

[Continue reading article at jacksonville.com.]

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TORREYA TAXIFOLA - NORTH FLORIDA

Left from Rock Bluff on a dirt road to TORREYA STATE PARK, 15.5 m. on the Apalachicola River. This 520-acre park was named for the evergreen Torreya taxifola, rarest species of the genus Torreya, found here and for 10 miles south along the eastern bank of the river. Because of the unpleasant odor when bruised, the tree is known as ‘stinking cedar.’ Two other varieties grow in Japan and California, but both differ in size, leaves and color of fruit from the Florida tree, which rises in pyramidal form to a height of 40 feet.

Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State (WPA, 1939) [Find it at a library near you.]

Torreya State Park is about an hour west of Tallahassee, the state’s capital in northwest Florida, where I currently live. The park opened in 1935, a project of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal, public work relief program. Its namesake, the Torreya taxifolia, or “gopher wood,” is a small coniferous tree that is currently listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN). The numbers are staggering: “Before the start of the decline in the early 1950s, the population was estimated to have been more than 600,000 […] The current population is estimated to be between 500 and 600 trees.” Efforts to preserve and maintain the tree range from academic studies from conservation biologists [PDF] to a citizen biodiversity protection group who are “rewilding” the tree in and around Asheville, NC and other select locations.

The Florida Torreya is one of the many native Florida plants that are indigenous to the Big Bend—one of the the nation’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Many of the indigenous flora and fauna are endangered due to overdevelopment.

Guide Note: This dispatch was inspired by a personal project: an experiential auditory piece meant to invoke the physical and aural sensation of observing the T. taxifolia in its native landscape, the limestone hills of the Apalachicola River Basin, while it slowly disintegrates as a species. The author is collaborating with Josh Mason (Jacksonville) and Michael Diaz (Tallahassee). Photographs by Michael Diaz, images courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory project.

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Micah Vandegrift is a Floridian who has not once been to Miami. He fell into academic librarianship after finishing a degree in American and Florida Studies wherein he wrote a thesis on Gainesville’s post-punk music scene. His dream vacation is to take an airboat ride through the Everglades, stop off in Gibsonton, catch a show at Weeki Wachee Springs, camp in the Dry Tortugas National Park, hang out with the bison on Paynes Prairie, catch a flick at the Silver Moon Drive In,  walk the trees at the Myakka River Canopy, and finish the trip with an Dipped Cone at Del’s Freez in his hometown of Melbourne, FL. Micah can be discovered all around the web, mostly rousing rabble about librarianship in the digital age. Find him on Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.